Mnangagwa dumps diplomacy, scolds US over Sanyatwe sanctions placement

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

Exactly a year after the tragic August 1 killings, consequences of the catastrophe have gotten out of hand with government expressing no remorse and demanding that the USA should not undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

In a rant akin to former President Robert Mugabe’s famous “Blair (former British Prime Minister Tony), keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe”, Mnangagwa told the US where to get off, stating that while he intended to mend broken relations with the superpower, he had no intentions to “appease” them in any way.

This comes after former Army Presidential Guard Brigade commander and ambassador-designate to Tanzania, Anselem Sanyatwe and his spouse were placed under United States sanctions for the ex-top soldier’s involvement in the August 1, 2018 civilian killings by the army.

The US went on to add that the culprits in the uniformed services be held accountable for the gross human right abuses.

In a statement by the Information Permanent Secretary, Nick Mangwana released Friday, the Government expressed its disapproval over the action while maintaining its position that US sanctions were illegal.

“We, therefore, take serious umbrage by the posturing of some foreign powers who have taken it upon themselves to invoke actions that are clearly out of sync with the spirit and letter of the Commission whose work was public and credible,” Mangwana said of the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission which heard testimonies from victims and witnesses of the shootings.

“These powers have arrogated themselves power beyond our processes and in this context a Zimbabwean diplomat and his family has been placed under sanctions for ostensibly violating human rights in relation to the events of August 1, 2018.

“It is our position that sanctions imposed on our country are illegal and any escalation of the same is counterproductive.

“President Mnangagwa has adopted a policy of rapprochement towards countries with whom we have endured less than friendly relations with over the past two decades.

“However, this policy is not a policy of appeasement,” reads part of the statement.

The statement adds that the sanctions were uncalled for and meant to divide Zimbabweans than promote unity.

“The principles of equality, sovereignty and self-determination in statecraft should be respected.

“We therefore wish to place on record our strong displeasure of actions to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and condemn posturing meant to fan divisions rather than initiate national healing and understanding.”

The August 1 killings attracted international attention and with government rebuked by human rights bodies across the world.

Following the announcement of presidential election results last year, Sanyatwe commanded a standby force that ruthlessly dispersed demonstrators who had been angered by the delay by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in announcing the outcome.